Friday, May 06, 2005

Starfest 2005, Day 2 

On Saturday (April 30), Greg and Angie went to the convention right after it opened, but I had made a committment to participate in a Sjogren's fundraiser that morning, and Dan took me. No way was I in any shape for a two mile walk, so we brought the wheelchair along. My aunt met us there and walked about half a mile with Dan pushing me in the wheelchair. The charity event was a rousing success; it raised over $21,000.

When we got home, even though Dan had done all the hard work, I was still too exhausted to make it to the convention, so we took an hour and a half nap. I hated missing anything, but such is my life. Then I had a quick chili lunch and tried to make it out the door in enough time to see Jeffrey Combs in a Q and A session. Dan knew him from the "Re-Animator" movies.

Even though the parking situation hadn't been great on Friday, on Saturday afternoon, it was a total nightmare. Only nine handicapped spaces in the whole lot, and of course they were taken because there were way more than nine attendees in wheelchairs. We ended up going across the street to someone else's parking lot and managed to swipe a space as someone was leaving. So Dan had to figure out how to get me in a wheelchair aross two lanes of traffic and a raised median. Needless to say, we were late for Jeffrey Combs. Rather than disturb anyone, we snuck over to the side of the arena in the dark and watched from there.

Even though I didn't know Jeffrey Combs before the convention, I enjoyed what I did get to see of his Q and A. He has done character work on "Deep Space Nine" and "Enterprise" in addition to film, and seems just as bummed about the cancellation of "Enterprise" as his fans are. I didn't realize he'd been in "The Frighteners". He really likes working with Peter Jackson. He will be directing a stage production of "Richard III", which of course intrigued me.

When the house lights came on, we found Greg and Angie, and Angie showed us to our reserved seats while Greg went to a photo session. By a stroke of terrific luck, our seats were on an aisle, so there was room to fold up the wheelchair in front of us. I really appreciated the perks of VIP passes at that point.

The next feature was a Q and A with Tony Amendola. He's currently in "Stargate SG-1", but he grabbed my interest right away when he started talking about performing with a local Shakespeare troupe during the '70's. No offense, but I thought he looked a bit like George Carlin. He was funny and very much at ease on the stage, and time really flew while he was up there because I didn't even realize he'd gone past his allotted time.

Because Tony Amendola ran long, the organizers tried to start the next feature as soon as possible, so I stayed put even though the assigned chair was already getting uncomfortable. Apparently the movie previews are a major attraction at Starfest. I figured at the very least, I'd get a better idea of what I wanted to see this summer.

First was "Batman Begins". It looked more promising than the last two Batman movies, but I'm not sure it interested me enough to pay $8.50 at the theatre. Maybe if I go to the bargain show.

"The Island" is something I'll probably skip unless Dan's interested in going.

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" had a hilarious trailer, I must say. Turned out to be misleading, though.

There was an anime trailer, which drew no reaction from the audience or me.

The trailer for "Madagascar" was amusing. It's an animated feature. Will reserve judgement on whether I want to see it after it has been out for awhile.

Disney is coming out with "Chicken Little". Cute trailer, but I probably won't check it out unless the reviews are unusually good.

"Stealth" is an action movie that looks like a futuristic "Top Gun". Don't think even Tom Cruise would have made me want to see this.

Not gonna see "Bewitched" either. No way, no how. Same for "House of Wax" featuring Paris Hilton's film debut (except for the porn of course). "Unleashed" with Jet Li looks unbelievably awful. And "Deuce Bigalo 2"? Puh-leeez!

Don't know what to think of "Dark Water", but I suspect it could be a real dog. Will wait and see. Same for "Knightwatch", a Russian thriller that may or may not be my cup of tea.

"Zathura" I think recalls "Jumanji". The trailer was interesting, but I'm not so sure the film will be.

One of the real standouts was something called "Scanner Darkly". Remember the "Take On Me" video where the lead singer becomes an animated character? The cast of this movie becomes animated, and it looks pretty cool.

Will probably go see "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" just out of morbid curiosity. Figure I'll either love it or loathe it. Johnny Depp (or at least his voice) also appears in a Tim Burton vehicle called "Corpse Bride", which I'll likely skip.

Gotta admit I liked the trailer for "Kingdom of Heaven" quite a bit. Not just because it stars Orlando Bloom (which is an attraction in itself) but because it shows a whole different side of the film than the trailers they've been showing on TV. There are hints of a plot that would interest me. I may see if I can talk a female friend into seeing it with me as Dan's not particularly into period pieces.

"Mr. and Mrs. Smith". Hmmmm. Maybe. If it has adequate humor to it I might like it, but the trailer showed mostly violence and very little dialog, so hard to tell.

"Sound of Thunder " is taken from a Ray Bradbury story. While I like Bradbury a lot, I probably won't waste my time if it's not a good adaptation.

"Fantastic Four". Something for Dan, not for me.

"War of the Worlds" had a feature as well as the trailer. I want to like this one, I really do, as the story has fascinated me most of my life. But what I saw went in a completely different direction than I was expecting, and I wonder if I'm going to be let down. I'll probably give it a shot anyway, but I'll have my fingers crossed.

The house lights finally came up after an hour and a half of previews. There was another speaker scheduled, but I had to get my ass out of that chair. So Dan and I snuck out for a potty and snack break. While I was waiting in line for the restroom, I took a peek outside and saw two Klingons having a smoke in the snow. Later, after Dan got some goodies at Starbucks, I got out the camera and entertained myself for about half an hour. I got pix of R2D2, a rather amazing Predator, various banners and cardboard cutouts on the balconies above the atrium, and of course my beloved Klingons.

We snuck back into the main event room toward the end of Grace Park's Q and A. I had never seen her before...I guess she's in the newer version of "Battlestar Galactica". At the end of her session they showed more "War of the Worlds" previews, essentially the same as what we'd already seen except the trailer was for the Japanese release and the feature had an intro with Spielberg and Cruise saying howdy to the StarFest convention.

I would have liked to have stayed for the costume contest. Next year I definitely will. But this time, we had to get out of those godawful stadium chairs and get a real meal someplace. We hit Boston Market because you can get a filling meal there without a long wait.

Afterward, we decided to go to a regular movie in the theatre. We were all set to see "Fever Pitch", but when we got to the theatre, it was no longer running. We decided to see "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" because the trailer had been so funny. Ack. Ok, I found the movie funny in spots, kind of like Monty Python, but there was absolutely no momentum, and it dragged terribly in between the funny parts. I was pretty amused by the dolphin song, but I think I was the only one. I'm not sure Dan will ever forgive me for talking him into seeing this movie. He may never set foot in a theatre again. My bad.

When the movie was finished, so was I. I don't even remember what I did after I got home. Probably fell asleep on the couch again.

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